New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses - that of the North and South Islands - and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.
Because of New Zealands remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life; most notable are the large number of unique bird species. The countrys varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.
When to go:
Summer, from December to March, is ideal for water activities with temperatures averaging from the mid to high 20s C. Spring, from September to November, is good for exploring with the countryside blooming into life and temperatures from 15-20 C. Autumn, with its turning leaves and gentle sun, is in April and May and tends to be a little warmer than the spring. Winter, from June to August, is perfect for skiing in the mountains though at sea level temperatures rarely fall below 5 C. The North Island, in particular, is mild year-round while thereís always snow dusting New Zealandís highest mountain peaks.
Average monthly temperature (°C)
+12 hours (New Zealand).
New Zealand English, Maori, New Zealand Sign Language.
New Zealand Dollar (NZD).
Travellers who have come from an area infected with yellow fever are required to be vaccinated before entering the country.
Flights to New Zealand take around 24 hours, and include one or two stops, usually in the Middle East, Australia and the USA.
For the latest update-to-date New Zealand travel advice, click here.